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Episode 870: Trump vs. Red Tape

There were 22,000 pages of federal regulations in 1960. In 2016, there were 185,000. President Trump has a problem with that.
Al Drago
/
Bloomberg via Getty Images
There were 22,000 pages of federal regulations in 1960. In 2016, there were 185,000. President Trump has a problem with that.

Every hero has a nemesis. Tom had Jerry. Batman had the Joker. Politicians are no different. Basically every candidate who has ever run for office targets the same enemy: Regulations. Red tape. Rules churned out by the federal bureaucracy that touch on everything from carbon emissions to goat farms to vending machines.

President Trump is no exception. With giant scissors in hand, he has promised to cut existing regulations by, as he puts it, "a lot." And he's already claiming victory: "The never ending growth of red tape in America has come to a sudden, screeching and beautiful halt."

Today on the show, we check on Trump's progress. Has he defeated every President's nemesis? Also: We didn't have time for every regulation. So, naturally, we wrote a song. Find the full lyrics below.

It's The End Of These Regs As We Know 'Em

(With apologies to R.E.M.)

That's cool, the Affordable Clean Energy Rule, Methane And Waste Prevention Rule, and the Arbitration Rule.

Oy, Net Neutrality, then again, its repeal. Waters of the U.S., its rescission, new rule. Clean Power Plan, Scientific Transparency, plus the standards for Corporate Average Fuel Economy.

Bureaucratic 'n' dramatic, red tape reshape, and there's no escape.

It's the end of these regs as we know 'em. It's the end of these regs as we know 'em. It's the end of these regs as we know 'em. They're on borrowed time.

The Borrower Defense Rule, for those of you who went school, the DOE has called it off. (Betsy DeVos!)

Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing Rule! No more Dealer Markups Guidance. Its rescission went and smite it.

Bureaucratic 'n' dramatic, red tape reshape, and there's no escape.

It's the end of these regs as we know 'em. It's the end of these regs as we know 'em. It's the end of these regs as we know 'em. They're on borrowed time.

Parody lyrics by Karen Lurie and Shane McKeon

Performed by Juice Cleanse

Music: "Low Slung" and "The Period Punks"

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Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Jason Beaubien is NPR's Global Health and Development Correspondent on the Science Desk.
Alex Goldmark is the senior supervising producer of Planet Money and The Indicator from Planet Money. His reporting has appeared on shows including Morning Edition, All Things Considered, Radiolab, On The Media, APM's Marketplace, and in magazines such as GOOD and Fast Company. Previously, he was a senior producer at WNYC–New York Public Radio where he piloted new programming and helped grow young shows to the point where they now have their own coffee mug pledge gifts. Long ago, he was the executive producer of two shows at Air America Radio, a very short term consultant for the World Bank, a volunteer trying to fight gun violence in the favelas of Rio de Janeiro, and also a poor excuse for a bartender in Washington, DC. He lives next to the Brooklyn Bridge and owns an orange velvet couch.
Karen Duffin (she/her) is a co-host and reporter for Planet Money, NPR's award-winning podcast that finds creative, entertaining ways to make sense of the big, complicated forces that move our economy. She joined the team in March 2018.